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Boards and Executive Directors take months to develop a strategic plan, outlining at a high level what they will be doing in future years to stay relevant and address community needs. They dedicate hundreds of hours to committee meetings with help from consultants who assist in narrowing the focus and to build consensus among the group. Environmental review, check. SWOT analysis, check. Smelling the consultant’s fruity markers, check, check.

Once the initiatives are identified, everyone is in agreement and the document finalized. The group celebrates their magnificent feat by sharing the shiny new plan with donors and stakeholders. Tada!

And then nothing happens.

The strategic plan is tucked away only to be retrieved when a donor asks for it or when 3 years has passed and it is time to refresh the document. If you are lucky you will scratch off a couple of items from the old plan and add some new ones. Most often boards begin anew only to have a regurgitation of the same issues and initiatives.

Nonprofits often fail at execution of the strategic plan because steps are not taken fully develop an operations plan or strategic fund plan. A strategic fund plan evaluates the current funding environment and outlines “how” funds will be raised. A completed fund plan clarifies fundraising tactics- major gifts, grant writing, direct mail, etc and who will be responsible for their implementation. Done right, the strategic fund plan will tell you if your strategic plan goals are feasible or if they need to be phased in or adjusted. Here is a helpful planning worksheet you can use to get started.

We are in this business to solve pressing community problems and resources are required. To plan for and actualize the resources nonprofits need a strategic fund plan, a critical tool that conveys the “how” funds will be raised to achieve success both for strategic plan initiatives and ongoing operations. If all of this planning feels overwhelming and you need some help pulling it together, please feel free to contact us.

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